11/22/2020, 5:00 p.m. No time right now?
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Google Analytics 4 Properties are here. Our guest author explains what the new Google Analytics tracking looks like, where it differs from the “standard analytics” and whether the upgrade is worthwhile.
Perhaps you have already noticed: For a few days now, Google Analytics has been showing the following information on the reporting overview:
The tool recommends the user to switch to the new Google Analytics 4 property and use the new Google Analytics interface.
What is Analytics 4 Properties?
“The Future of Google Analytics”, as Google GA4P itself also calls it, was published in mid-October 2020 and is a further development of Google Analytics for Web and App, which was launched last year in a beta version.
In short, Analytics 4 Properties is actually a new form of Google Analytics that not only enables cross-platform tracking, but also brings all sorts of additional features and differs both visually and technically from the usual Universal Analytics.
Universal Analytics vs. Analytics 4 Properties – what are the differences?
The focus in the new analytics properties is moving further and further away from classic session tracking. Instead of meetings, the focus here is on user behavior and events – and this is not only reflected in the new reports.
Innovations and new features are for example:
Cross-platform tracking: App and website can be tracked in the same property. Automated event tracking: some events, for example scroll events, can be measured without code adjustments. Funnel reports: Funnel reports can be compiled and individually filtered and are no longer only available for e-commerce data. Improved user tracking: While you either had to store your own user IDs in Universal Analytics or rely on the tracking cookie, the new properties work according to the waterfall principle: If no user ID is transmitted, Google signals are automatically sent. Data used. If these are not available either, the device or cookie ID is used. Cross-domain tracking: Cross-domain tracking is not new – but what is new is that it can be configured directly in the analytics interface without any code adjustment. Super quick and easy!
Of course, these are by no means all the adjustments that the new Google Analytics has to offer – a complete list would not only go beyond the scope, but would also be out of date very quickly. Google Analytics 4 Properties are currently being developed very quickly and actively, so that there are news and updates almost weekly.
We don’t want to withhold a few deeper insights from you, which is why we are now taking you into the interface for a little tool insight:
Home / Overview
It is already noticeable here that the look of Google Analytics has been heavily redesigned – but the content of the homepage is still quite similar to the Universal Analytics Overview.
It gets more interesting in the real-time overview. Here, not only is a visually appealing large map and a tile design used, it is also possible to filter and compare directly:
Filters and comparisons
The data view filters familiar from Google Analytics are no longer available in the new Analytics Properties – reports can be filtered in real time. This works much easier and more user-friendly than in Universal Analytics and is not permanent – the risk of ruining a complete data view with a simple filter has been eliminated.
The filter menu looks like this:
The final (and most important) question remains:
Should users switch to GA4P now?
Even if everything sounds new and great about Google Analytics 4 Properties and you jumped on the hype train faster with all the new features than you can say “Google Analytics 4 Property”, not all that glitters is gold here either. So there are a few things you should consider before switching:
Data collection, i.e. the way in which the data is collected, has changed compared to Universal Analytics. The changeover may therefore involve development work or at least require tracking specialists. During the upgrade, previous data is not imported, so the new property starts from scratch. But don’t worry: although “Upgrade” sounds like the old property is being replaced by the new one, a new property is simply set up that runs alongside the old one. So the data is not lost.
So: change, yes or no?
A complete switch is currently not advisable. It makes more sense to set up a Google Analytics 4 property and run it parallel to the usual Universal Analytics property.
In this way, data can be collected in peace before the final switch and marketing and BI teams can deal extensively with the new reports and options. In addition, users can combine the best of both reporting worlds and use exactly what is advancing their own company.